High Capacity Buses

Updated 27 May 2018

High capacity buses are a collective group of buses that provide greater capacity, either through having more seats or standees, to accommodate more commuters, in comparison to rigid single-deck buses.

High capacity buses are utilized in public bus networks worldwide to improve operational efficiency by ferrying more passengers per trip, eliminating the need to deploy multiple rigid single-deck buses on heavily utilized bus services. The operation of these buses reduces the operational and manpower costs for bus operators with the usage of lesser buses and more effective utilization of bus drivers across bus networks.

Currently, two types of high capacity buses are operated in Singapore – Double-Deck Buses (or double decker) and Articulated Buses (more affectionately known as the Bendy Bus).

Double-Deck Buses

Double-deck buses are the oldest and most common type of high capacity buses that are operated by public bus operators in Singapore. They consist of two levels (or decks) – the Upper Deck and Lower Deck. With 55 additional seats on the upper deck (for modern air-conditioned double-deck buses), they provide more capacity through the availability of more seats in comparison to rigid buses. However, standing is prohibited on the upper deck due to safety reasons.

The earliest double-deck buses in Singapore, the Leyland Atlantean, were launched by the Singapore Bus Service (SBS) (presently known as SBS Transit) on 13 June 1977, making their debuts on the newly introduced Bus Service 86, running from Tampines Way (in Hougang) to the city centre of Singapore. As these buses became popular among commuters, more units were procured by SBS into the 1980s and 1990s to cope with the increasing demand of bus services over the decades.

With the introduction of air-conditioning on public buses, later models of double-deck buses were also retrofitted with air-conditioning units. While the air-conditioning units of single-deck buses are fitted on the roof of the bus, the units for double-deck buses have to be fitted at the rear of buses due to the issue of height clearance, as well as the flow of air-conditioning within the bus. Therefore, all air-conditioned double-deck buses require an additional rear axle in order to support the weight of the air-conditioning system, which also increases the length of these double-deck buses to the conventional 12 m (similar to rigid buses).

While Singapore’s second public bus operator, the Trans-Island Bus Service (TIBS) (later known as SMRT Buses), conventionally used articulated buses as their main type of high capacity buses since the late 1990s, the operator also started the operation of double-deck buses in July 2014 in a bid to improve the efficiency of its bus services.

With the commencement of the Bus Contracting Model (BCM) in 2016, the two new bus operators in Singapore, Tower Transit Singapore and Go-Ahead Singapore, also took over double-deck buses from the incumbent bus operators as part of their operations of the Bulim and Loyang bus packages respectively.

The table below provides the list of operational bus services in Singapore that operate/used to operate double-deck buses, along with their commencement years/dates and cessation years/dates (for bus services that used to operate double-deck buses):

Trunk Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Cessation Date (if any)* Remarks
2 1984 Continues to be operated under Go-Ahead
3 7 September 2015 Continues to be operated under Go-Ahead
4 17 August 2015
5 2008
6 2008 Continues to be operated under Go-Ahead
7 1983
8 1 March 1990 Since introduction
9 2003
10 1983
12 1983 Continues to be operated under Go-Ahead
13 2007
14 1984
17 2003 Continues to be operated under Go-Ahead
17A 18 September 2016 Debut under Go-Ahead
18 1990 12 December 2004 Used to be operate double-deck buses, withdrawn due to insufficient demand
19 2008
20 2014
21 1998
22 1994
23 1987
25 1988
26 1992 2000 Used to operate double-deck buses, withdrawn due to insufficient demand
28 2 October 1994 Since introduction
30 1980
31 1998
35 18 May 1998 10 June 2003 Non-air-conditioned introduction
11 August 2015 Reintroduction as part of BSEP enhancements
35M 11 August 2015 Introduced together with Service 35
37 2008
39 2 June 2015 Height restriction in Yishun Int removed following interchange relocation
41 14 December 2014 Since introduction under BSEP, continues to be operated under Tower Transit
43 2012 Continues to be operated under Go-Ahead
43M 16 November 2014 Since introduction under BSEP, continues to be operated under Go-Ahead
45 2012
46 12 June 2016 Since introduction under BSEP
47 20 December 2015 Since introduction under BSEP
48 28 November 2016
49 14 December 2013 Since introduction under BSEP, continues to be operated under Tower Transit
50 16 December 2012 Since introduction under BSEP
51 1989
52 2012
54 2012
55 2003
56 22 December 1985 Since introduction
58 2008
59 2008
60 2003
61 1987 3 September 2000 Double-deck buses removed after handover to TIBS
17 November 2014 Reintroduction under SMRT
62 1997 Continues to be operated under Go-Ahead
63 1992 23 May 1993 Double-deck buses removed after route cutback to Rumah Tinggi Ter
64 1992
65 1985
66 1 May 2015 Height restriction in Bukit Timah lifted after tree pruning in 2015, continues to be operated under Tower Transit
67 15 February 2015 Height restriction in Bukit Timah lifted after tree pruning in 2015
69 1998
70 1992
70M 28 January 2008 Renumbered from route variant Service 70#
71 9 December 2017 Since introduction under BSEP
72 1999
74 1985
76 2002
78 1999 2003 Non-air-conditioned introduction
2008 Continues to be operated under Tower Transit
79 2008 Continues to be operated under Tower Transit
80 12 December 1999 Since introduction
81 1983
82 2000 7 December 2003 Used to operate double-deck buses, withdrawn after route cutback under NEL rationalization
83 4 September 2016 Debut under Go-Ahead
85 22 June 2015 Height restriction in Yishun Int removed following interchange relocation, continues to be operated under Go-Ahead
86 5 December 1999 Since introduction
87 19 September 1999 Since introduction
88 28 February 1999 Since introduction
89 2003
90 2012
91 2004 Used to be operate double-deck buses throughout operating hours, downgraded to crossover only since opening of CCL
93 1994 2010 Used to operate double-deck buses, withdrawn due to declining demand since opening of CCL
94 2012  
95 2011  
96 2012   Continues to be operated under Tower Transit
97 1998   Continues to be operated under Tower Transit
98 1996   Continues to be operated under Tower Transit
98M 28 January 2008   Renumbered from short working trip 98A, continues to be operated under Tower Transit
99 1992  
101 2013
102 20 September 2015 Since introduction under BSEP
103 1990 17 December 1995 Double-deck buses removed after handover to TIBS
20 January 2016 Reintroduction under SBS Transit
106 28 October 1985 24 December 2000 Double-deck buses removed after handover to TIBS
18 August 2014 Reintroduction under SMRT, continues to be operated under Tower Transit
107 2001
107M 28 January 2008 Renumbered from route variant Service 107#
109 2012
111 1984
117 20 December 2015 Since introduction under BSEP
118 20 December 2015 Since introduction under BSEP, continues to be operated under Go-Ahead
119 2003 2009 First debut when introduced, withdrawn due to insufficient demand
21 October 2012   Reintroduction under BSEP, continues to be operated under Go-Ahead
123 30 July 2017
125 2012
127 18 December 2016 Since introduction under BSEP
129 18 December 2016 Since introduction under BSEP
130 2013
132 1987
133 5 November 1989 Since introduction
134 20 March 2016 Since introduction under BSEP
135 1992 1997 Used to operate double-deck buses, withdrawn after retirement of non-air-con double-deck buses
136 1994 4 September 2016 Used to operate double-deck buses throughout operating hours, subsequently converted to peak hour crossover and discontinued under Go-Ahead
139 1995 2000 First introduction under SBS
2012   Reintroduction under SBS Transit
143 1984 Continues to be operated under Tower Transit
143M 18 May 2014 Continues to be operated under Tower Transit
145 6 April 2015 Height restriction along Henderson Rd lifted after tree pruning
147 1984
151 4 August 2008
153 1987
154 1986
157 1997
159 1977 1989 Used to be operate double-deck buses, withdrawn after opening of Braddell Flyover
161 2002
163 2012
163M 2012
165 1978
166 1986
167 26 March 2018 Peak hour crossover
168 2002
169 1980 5 June 1983 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
1 October 2014 Reintroduction under SMRT
171 Accidental deployment
172 14 July 2015
174 2003
176 17 November 2014 Height restriction along Henderson Rd lifted after tree pruning, height restriction along Hillview Rd removed after removal of KTM tracks
178 1981 10 July 1983 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
179 7 January 2001 Since introduction
180 12 January 2016
181 2012
181M 21 March 2016 Since introduction
182 1998
182M 28 January 2008 Renumbered from route variant Service 182#
183 2011 Continues to be operated under Tower Transit
184 10 April 2018 Occasional appearance
185 2008
186 2000 2003 Non-air-conditioned introduction
2008  
187 1991 17 September 1995 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
12 January 2015 Reintroduction under SMRT
188 7 March 1999 26 December 1999 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
15 September 2014 Reintroduction under SMRT
189 1987 18 June 2000 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
26 October 2015 Reintroduction under SMRT, continues to be operated under Tower Transit
190 1993 25 July 1999 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
18 August 2014 Reintroduction under SMRT
192 1998
193 1998
196 1982
197 1981
198 1981
199 2000
201 23 November 2014 Since introduction under BSEP
246 1994
247 18 June 2017 Since introduction under BSEP
248 18 June 2017 Since introduction under BSEP
249 1994
251 1994
252 1994
253 12 December 2015 Since introduction
254 1994
255 1994
257 1994
258 21 November 2015 Since introduction under BSEP
700 15 September 2014
700A 15 September 2014
851 18 September 2016 Height restriction in Yishun Int removed following interchange relocation, continues to be operated under SBS Transit
854 16 August 2015 Height restriction in Yishun Int removed following interchange relocation
856 18 May 2015 Height restriction in Yishun Int removed following interchange relocation
857 26 April 2015 Height restriction in Yishun Int removed following interchange relocation
858 8 January 2016 1 instance of downroute deployment
860 12 January 2017 15 October 2017 Used to operate double-deck buses prior to route extension, withdrawn due to road restrictions along Ang Mo Kio Ave 5
883 14 November 2017
960 16 February 2015 Height restriction in Bukit Timah lifted after tree pruning in 2015
961 15 June 2015
961# 15 June 2015
962 10 September 2017
963 15 September 2014 Height restriction along Hillview Rd removed after removal of KTM tracks
964 12 January 2015
965 17 November 2014
966 18 August 2014
969 18 August 2014
972 13 July 2014
975 5 October 2015 Peak hour crossover from 922
979 28 December 2015
979M 2017
980 22 April 2018 Weekend deployment
981 12 October 2015
983 25 April 2015 Since introduction under BSEP
985 13 July 2015

Feeder Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Cessation Date (if any)* Remarks
222 1998
225G 2008
225W 2008
228 2015 Emergency deployment
240 1996 2003 Non-air-conditioned introduction
2010  
241 15 March 2009 Since introduction
242 1996
243G 2012
243W 1996 2003 Non-air-conditioned introduction
2008  
285 1999 Introduced as peak hour crossover, converted to full day deployment in 2012 and continues to be operated under Tower Transit
291 1999 2003 Non-air-conditioned introduction
14 July 2011  
293 2013
300 1993 29 August 1999 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
2017 Emergency deployment
302 1993 29 August 1999 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
3 March 2016 Emergency deployment
307 1997 29 August 1999 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
308 2015 Emergency deployment
333 1996 2003 Non-air-conditioned introduction, withdrawn after retirement of non-air-conditioned double-deck buses
334 1996 2003 Non-air-conditioned introduction
2012   Continues to be operated under Tower Transit
335 1996 2003 Non-air-conditioned introduction, withdrawn after retirement of non-air-conditioned double-deck buses
359 1999 2002 Non-air-conditioned introduction, withdrawn after retirement of non-air-conditioned double-deck buses
410W 1994 2003 Non-air-conditioned introduction
2012  
800 15 October 2017   Continues to be operated under SBS Transit
804 15 October 2017 Continues to be operated under SBS Transit
806 16 July 2017 Continues to be operated under SBS Transit
807 15 October 2017 Continues to be operated under SBS Transit
811 8 January 2018 Continues to be operated under SBS Transit
812 15 October 2017 Continues to be operated under SBS Transit
900 10 April 2018
900A 10 April 2018
901 23 April 2018
903 23 April 2018
911E 29 October 2015 One-time occurance
922 23 April 2018 Peak hour crossover
941 1998 (as 361) 18 June 2000 (as 361) Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
947 1998 (as 367) 18 June 2000 (as 367) Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS

Express/Fast Forward/City Direct Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Cessation Date (if any)* Remarks
10e 2011
12e 28 January 2018 Since introduction
74e 2010s Occasional crossover
89e 2011
97e 13 June 2016 Occasional crossover
147e 28 January 2018 Since introduction
151e 2010s Occasional crossover
174e 2010s Occasional crossover
188E 2016
502 2000 27 July 2003 First debut when introduced, initially removed after route cutback under NEL rationalization
2008
502A 2008 Occasional crossover
506 9 March 2015
513 17 December 2012 Since introduction
518 25 August 2014 Continues to be operated under Go-Ahead
518A 25 August 2014 Occasional crossover, continues to be operated under Go-Ahead
653 13 April 2017 Debut under SMRT
655 2018
657 5 September 2017 One-time occurrence
656 20 November 2017 2018 Debut under SMRT, subsequently withdrawn due to insufficient demand
663 28 September 2017
665 9 April 2018
850E 18 August 2014 Continues to be operated under SBS Transit
851e 27 May 2018 Since introduction
854E 2016
868 11 August 2015
951E 15 September 2014
963E 28 October 2014
982E 2016

Articulated Buses

Articulated buses are the second most common type of high capacity buses that are operated by public bus operators in Singapore. They consist of a front trailer and an extended rear trailer. With 25 additional seats in the extended rear trailer (for modern air-conditioned double-deck buses), as well as additional standees in the articulated joint and rear trailer, they provide more capacity through the availability of more standing space in comparison to rigid buses.

The earliest articulated bus in Singapore, the Mercedes-Benz O405G, was launched by the Trans-Island Bus Service (TIBS) (presently known as SMRT Buses) on 14 March 1996, making its debut on Bus Service 171. To cope with the increasing demand of TIBS bus services, more units were procured by TIBS between 1997 and 2004. All articulated buses purchased by TIBS are delivered with air-conditioning systems.

While Singapore’s largest public bus operator, the Singapore Bus Service (SBS) (later known as SBS Transit), conventionally used double-deck buses as their main type of high capacity buses since the late 1970s, the operator procured two articulated buses – a Volvo B10MA Mark IV Articulated (SBS998Y) and Mercedes-Benz O405G (SBS999U) for demonstration purposes in the late 1990s. However, they were later exported to Australia in 2004 after they were deemed inefficient for the operation of bus services by SBS Transit. However, under the Seletar Bus Package, SBS Transit restarted the operation of articulated buses in March 2018, taking over 10 units from SMRT Buses as part of the route package.

The two other bus operators in Singapore, Tower Transit Singapore and Go-Ahead Singapore, currently do not operate any articulated buses in their fleet.

The table below provides the list of operational bus services in Singapore that operate/used to operate articulated buses, along with their commencement years/dates and cessation years/dates (for bus services that used to operate articulated buses):

Trunk Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Cessation Date (if any)* Remarks
18 1996 1999 Demonstrator units (SBS998Y, SBS999U)
2002 2004 Demonstrator units redeployed back from Service 290 after withdrawal in 2002, articulated buses withdrawn after being exported to Australia in 2004
61 3 September 2000 2014 Articulated buses withdrawn after deployment of double-deck buses in 2014
67 26 December 1999  
82 1997 29 August 1999 Articulated buses withdrawn after handover to SBS
106 24 December 2000 29 May 2016 Articulated buses withdrawn after handover to Tower Transit
169 2000
171 14 March 1996 Operated throughout the day when first introduced, converted to weekend deployment in 2010
172 2001 2015 Articulated buses withdrawn after deployment of double-deck buses in 2015
176 1997  
178 2010s   Emergency deployments
180 1997 2016 Articulated buses withdrawn after deployment of double-deck buses in 2016
184 2000  
187 2000 2015 Articulated buses withdrawn after deployment of double-deck buses in 2015
188 1999  
189 2001 29 May 2016 Articulated buses withdrawn after handover to Tower Transit
190 25 July 1999
195 1998 1999 Demonstrator unit (SBS999U), redeployed to former Service 290
700 2000s 2014 Articulated buses withdrawn after deployment of double-deck buses in 2014
700A 2000s 2014 Articulated buses withdrawn after deployment of double-deck buses in 2014
851 1997   Articulated buses withdrawn after handover to SBS Transit
854 2000  
856 1997  
857 2001  
858 29 November 2015   Only MAN A24 articulated buses can be deployed due to space issues in Changi Airport
859 2001   Operated throughout the day when first introduced, withdrawn due to insufficient demand in 2008, reintroduced as weekend deployment in 2017
859A 2017   Weekend deployment
859B 2017   Weekend deployment
860 2015 15 October 2017 Articulated buses withdrawn after route extension in 2017
927 2010s Emergency deployment
960 1997
961 2010s Emergency deployment
962 2001 2017 Articulated buses withdrawn after deployment of double-deck buses in 2017
963 2002 2014 Articulated buses withdrawn after deployment of double-deck buses in 2014
964 2000 2015 Converted to weekend deployment after deployment of double-deck buses in 2015
965 2010s   Emergency deployment
966 2010s   Emergency deployment
969 2001  
972 2010s   Occasional deployment
975 2016   Deployment on short working trip 975B
979 2016   Occasional deployment
980 1997 (as 160)   Weekend deployment
983 2015   Occasional deployment
985 2000s   Occasional deployment
990 2014 29 May 2016 Occasional deployment until handover to Tower Transit

Feeder Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Cessation Date (if any)* Remarks
300 2000  
301 21 November 2016  
302 2000  
307 2000 2000s Articulated buses withdrawn due to insufficient demand in late 2000s
800 2000   Continues to be operated under SBS Transit
804 2000   Continues to be operated under SBS Transit
806 2000   Continues to be operated under SBS Transit
807 2017   Continues to be operated under SBS Transit
811 1998   Continues to be operated under SBS Transit
812 1997   Continues to be operated under SBS Transit
900 2000  
900A 26 June 2006  
901 2000  
902 17 April 2006  
903 2000  
903M 13 January 2017  
911 2000  
912 2000  
912M 1 September 2016  
913 2000  
920 2000s   Emergency deployment
922 2000s   Emergency deployment
945 18 June 2000 29 May 2016 Weekend crossover until handover to Tower Transit

Express Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Cessation Date (if any)* Remarks
188E 2014   Occasional deployment
850E 2015   Occasional deployment until handover to SBS Transit
854E 2007   Occasional deployment
951E 2015   Occasional deployment
963E 2006   Articulated buses withdrawn after deployment of double-deck buses in 2014
971E 2012  
982E 2015   Occasional deployment

NightRider Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Cessation Date (if any)* Remarks
NR3 2000   Articulated buses deployed during festive seasons
NR5 2000   Articulated buses deployed during festive seasons
NR7 2000   Articulated buses deployed during festive seasons
NR8 2000   Articulated buses deployed during festive seasons

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